July has just begun, and everyone in Miami can't seem to shut up about how hot it is. We get it -- it's miserable outside. That means you have to get creative. When the A/C isn't enough, what's a guy or gal to do?
It just so happens that a frozen-pop shop opened last Thursday, right in time to cool us down.
Filippo Tavazzani, age 31, is 100 percent authentic Italian, and so are the products sold in his new downtown Miami store, Eccolopops. An admirer of the American dream since his youth, Tavazzani finally realized his goal of starting a business in Miami with the opening of his shop.
"When I visited Miami in 1999, it was love at first sight," he says.
He moved here permanently in February and set out to create an authentic gelato experience that stays true to Italian gelato methods. "It's hard to make gelato the way it is done in Italy because several products from Italy are inaccessible here in the U.S.," Tavazzani says.
The taste of the product is valued above all else, and everything is handmade in the back of the store. There are no added preservatives or flavoring, and Tavazzani himself makes the gelato base every day. Bonus: Vegans can enjoy anything on the dairy-free menu.
"Right now there are 24 flavors of popsicles in the store, including staples like coconut, raspberry, and peach," Tavazzani says.
Classic gelato flavors like coconut, raspberry, and chocolate are sold in cups for patrons looking for a traditional experience. Ordering a small cup of gelato brings two scoops for $4.50, while a medium cup costs $5.50 and a large costs $7. Meanwhile, each pop in the store is sold for $3.20, tax included.
The shop's frozen pops are organized into four "lines" of flavors: classic, tropical, mixed, and sugar-free. Traditional flavors include chocolate, while mixed flavors, such as chocolate-pear, evoke authentic Italian desserts.
Sugar-free pops are either paleo-diet-friendly or aloe-based. Flavors like Rise & Shine Almond and Rise & Shine Strawberry are considered paleo-friendly. Aloe-based flavors, including lime, strawberry, and orange, are made from real aloe leaves, creating a bitter bite. Though the aloe-leaf base is intriguing, the doggie ice cream is arguably the most unique item on the menu.
"I met with my veterinarian in Italy to come up with a formula that would be both safe and
enjoyable for dogs that contains completely human ingredients," Tavazzani says.
"Miami is full of dogs, and I thought, Why not prepare gelato for dogs as well? People think dog food tastes bad, but that doesn't have to be true."
Tavazzani's pooch, Milo, is the taste tester and can be seen around the store. A blueberry-banana flavor is now available, and a mango version is in the works.
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Another line of frozen treats, called "cocktail pops," is not sold in the store but is available for parties when ordered in advance. The alcohol-spiked concoctions include mojito, caipirinha, and screwdriver flavors.
"I want this to be the flagship store where people can come and buy our products, but I want to expand by putting freezers of pops in different stores, as well as by opening more franchises in the future," Tavazzani says.
Eccolopops is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.